We often hear Christians being called “children of God.” But many of us also don’t know how that affects the way we think and the way we live. So, what does it really mean to be a child of God?
As I was reading the book of Ephesians, I noticed how Paul emphasized Christ’s fullness and greatness, and the magnificence of His glory.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Ephesians 1:3–6 (NIV)
I can’t help but wonder if Paul started his letter with Christ’s fullness because the church was going through some sort of lack. Maybe it’s through love, forgiveness, perseverance, humility, kindness, or perhaps, wholehearted devotion to God that a Christian can withstand any temptation or suffering.
Ephesus in Paul’s time was an esteemed city and a place of trade. It’s where the great Temple of Artemis was built, which the people worshiped and took pride in. Idol worship was highly promoted in society that even those who came to know Christ fell into various temptations, deceit, and compromises.
If we watch closely, we realize that the place and the quality of our lives often affect our values, worldview, and behavior.
Many of us can relate with the struggle of being immersed in a society that doesn’t fully recognize Jesus as Lord and where values and culture contradict His truth. At times, there comes the fear of missing out on what our friends freely enjoy, knowing that as Christians, we have values that contradict certain lifestyles and cultures.
Often, our character and faith are tested by difficult circumstances, like the challenges our families face, the issues in our hearts, and the messiness of our society and world. These things can choke our faith and tempt us to let our spiritual guard down and give in to our emotions or desires.
But for us who have heard, learned about, and surrendered ourselves to Christ, who are we and to whom do we belong?
We are chosen by God to be filled with every spiritual blessing in Christ, and called to live holy and blameless lives.
Like the believers in Ephesus, we can live lives that reflect the truth of Jesus, regardless of the norms, trends, or culture around us. We can be who God called us to be even while we experience pain, pressure, or disappointments, because Christ lives in us.
When we’re running out of compassion, respect, love, forgiveness, or grace toward others, let’s remember that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, which includes the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23) that overrides our old ways.
When we’re tempted to sin and our will to obey is failing, let’s remember the freedom that Jesus obtained for us. We’re no longer obliged to give in to sin because Christ has set us free.
When our faith is challenged and our hope is growing dim, let’s remember Christ’s steadfastness and the hope He gives (Hebrews 6:19). When we long for love from people, remember that God loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and that this love enables us to love others as well (1 John 4:19).
This is who we are: People who are being renewed each day until we become fully like Jesus.
The renewal of our inner self comes with the joy and privilege of being adopted as sons and daughters of God through Christ according to His pleasure, will, and His glorious grace.
Imagine the beauty of adoption. A child is no longer abandoned, but has finally found a home, a new name, and a wonderful future. This is what Christ did for us.
Our old lives have been undone. Our past no longer affects our present and future. Our relationship with Him has granted us a new identity and a new citizenship. We now carry His name in our lives, and we’re no longer just citizens of this world.+
Our home is now in Christ. We belong to Him.
We may be living in a broken world, trapped in a fallen nature, but we are made alive in Christ and are being transformed each day.
As citizens of God’s kingdom, it is our mission to be His hands and feet to the harrassed, helpless, and needy. It is our calling to defend the poor and the oppressed, and to speak up for those who cannot speak. It is our moral duty to be the salt and light of the world. But in our quest to fulfill this mission, we bear in mind God’s glorious redemptive plan for the world, and that our ultimate calling is to lead people into the kingdom of God by making disciples of Christ.
How will you now reflect this in your daily life?
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